Jim Al-Khalili is announced as the new British Humanist Association President and we speak to the BHA’s Chief Exec about what the amazing new census numbers mean for non-religious people in the UK. It’s not so great for non-believers elsewhere though as a new report shows – and we also pick apart the Snoopers Charter, which was shot down this week by Nick Clegg. Plus a new mental health manual could have a big impact, why Northern Ireland is still flagging, and why Erasmus Darwin was awesome.
Census Results and a new BHA President (2:11) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Andrew Copson) Atheist Persecution Worldwide (9:11) by Bob Churchill Snooper’s Charter Slapdown (19:56) by Jenny Woods Mental Health Diagnosis Pronosis (29:35) by Max Davie Reviewing Peer Review (36:30) by Drew Rae Flying The Flag (42:13) by Rory Fenton (ft Brian McClinton) Erasmus Darwin (48:48) by Philip John Video Codecs (55:11) by Trent Burton
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Holy Redundant (2:50) by James O’Malley (ft Andrew Copson) Sanal Edamaruku on Catholic Miracles (8:03) by Salim Fadhley The Voltaire Lecture (20:01) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Robin Ince) Droughts and Rain (29:20) by Duncan Geere Elected Mayors (33:31) by Cory Hazlehurst London’s Candidates (41:13) by Adam Jacobs Liverpool’s Candidates (50:43) by Tom Williamson Science Tales (57:01) by Lisa Chalkley (ft Darryl Cunningham) The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brain Two
CFI Blasphemy Conference (2:04) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff
(ft Andrew Copson, Austin Dacey and Maryam Namazie) Welfare Reform (15:17) by Steven Sumpter UniLad (25:44) by Dean Burnett Deaths in Custody (34:52) by Georgia Gale Grant Nuclear Theatre (41:27) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Nicholas Kent) The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two
Recorded on the 28th January 2012 at Conway Hall in London, CFI UK (and the British Humanist Association) organised a conference on blasphemy. This event focused on the criminalization of religious hatred, defamation, and insult under European human rights, and how this functions as a de facto blasphemy law.
It was organised and introduced by Dr Stephen Law of Heythrop College, University of London and Editor of Think (Royal Institute Philosophy) Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK.
We have three of the talks available here. We hope to add the other two – pending permission from the speakers.
Andrew Copson – Blasphemy laws by the back door
Andrew Copson has been chief executive of the British Humanist Association since 2010 before which he spent five years coordinating the association’s campaigns work including on blasphemy and free speech issues.
After decades of campaigning the criminal offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel have been abolished but censorship of blasphemous content and even threatened prosecution of blaspheme’s continues in the UK. Andrew explores how corporate interests, opaque advertising regulations and new criminal laws continue to stifle free expression, free criticism and mockery of gods and religions.
Austin Dacey – The Future of Blasphemy
Austin Dacey, Ph.D., is a representative to the United Nations for the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the author of The Future of Blasphemy:
If blasphemy is an affront to values that are held sacred, then it is too important to be left to the traditionally religious. In the public contestation of the sacred, each of us—secular and religious alike—has equal right and authority to speak on its behalf and equal claim to redress for its violation. Laws against blasphemy and “religious hatred” are inherently discriminatory because they give traditional faith communities a legal remedy that is not available to religious minorities and secularists when their sense of the sacred is violated.
Maryam Namazie – Blasphemy, Offence, and Islamophobia limiting Citizen Rights
Maryam will be speaking on how accusations of blasphemy, offensive speech and ‘Islamophobia’ censor and restrict free speech, limit citizen rights, and aid and abet Islamism. Maryam Namazie is Spokesperson of the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran. She is also National Secular Society Honorary Associate and the NSS’ 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and was selected one of the top 45 women of the year 2007 by Elle magazine Quebec.
Analogue Missions (1:45) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Prof Gordon Osinski) FOIA (12:54) by James Firth Deconversion (21:07) by Drew Rae Guides Inclusivity (28:32) by Salim Fadhley (ft Tessa Kendall) Too Many Ministers (35:39) by Cory Hazelhurst Spine Wizards (42:30) by Trish Hann Celebrity Skeptics (47:54) by Keir Liddle Secular Europe Campaign (53:42) by James O’Malley (ft Andrew Copson) QED 2010 (61:10) by James O’Malley (ft Michael Marshall) The sketches were by David Lovesy, Brian Two and Steve Clark
Recorded on the 29th June 2011, the All Party Humanist Group held a debate in Parliament at one of their meetings over whether Church of England Bishops should retain their automatic places in the House of Lords following the proposed reforms.
The debate was chaired by Lord Warner, and arguing for the bishops was Christina Rees (a member of the General Synod, though attending in a personal capacity) and Paul Bickley (from the thinktank Theos). Arguing against the bishops was Shadow Constitutional Reform Minister Chris Bryant and BHA Chief Exec Andrew Copson.
The Pod Delusion are proud to bring you recordings from the British Humanist Association 2011 annual conference, which was this year in Manchester. This first recording features Andrew Copson and Peter Atkins. Blurb below…
On being: The limitless power of science : Peter Atkins
Humanity should be proud of the fact that, through its collective endeavour, it has stumbled on to a way of discovering reliable knowledge about the nature, composition, and functioning of the universe. The question remains, however, whether its contribution to human understanding is boundless. I shall identify the great questions of existence that have been the focus of myth-making since mankind first sought to make sense of nature, and argue that the scientific method is capable of answering them all. Of course, it is necessary to distinguish the empty questions from the real, and it is important not to be distracted by questions that have simply been invented by philosophers and theologians. The essential point is that science is driven by optimism, and its current success encourages us to believe that it will resolve the question of the origin of the universe and the emergence of that most extraordinary property of matter, consciousness, just as it has revealed the process by which the biosphere has emerged and as it has illuminated the processes of birth and death. I shall argue that its power is limitless and that, through displacing poetic and vivid myths, it succeeds in deepening our wonder.